Friday, July 28, 2017

Where to Find a $35,000 Job—Without a Degree

More than 30 million jobs that pay $35,000 a year or more are open to noncollege graduates

By Lauren Weber of the WSJ. But maybe there are not as many of these jobs as there used to be. Then I have a link to another article that says there is a shortage of construction workers since they are aging and then another article that says employers are more willing now to hire ex-convicts. But, as I have pointed out before, the percentage of 25-54 year-olds employed is still below what it was when the recession started in Dec. 2007. See The percentage of 25-54 year-olds employed rose in June.

Excerpts from the Weber article:
"At a time when politicians and pundits decry the end of middle-class jobs, it may come as a surprise that there are 30 million jobs paying more than $35,000 a year for U.S. workers without four-year college degrees.

Now for the bad news: there are 75 million U.S. workers without college diplomas, or 2.5 workers for every one of those good jobs, meaning that high-school grads have far lower odds of winning the career lottery than they did 25 years ago, according to a new report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. Good jobs, as defined by the report’s authors, pay more than $35,000 a year, or more than $45,000 for workers over the age of 45. The median wage for the jobs Georgetown examined was $55,000.

The number of good jobs for noncollege graduates rose to 30 million in 2015 from 27 million in 1991, but the labor market grew, too. By 2015, the share of all good jobs that went to noncollege graduates fell to 45% from 60% in 1991—leaving 45 million workers in low-paying, sometimes part-time roles that don’t offer a path to the middle class.

In the post-World War II era, jobs in manufacturing and production propelled millions of American workers into the middle class. Today, more middle-class jobs for nongraduates are in financial services and health care. A high-school diploma alone won’t cut it for a lot of those jobs, however.

Among noncollege degree holders, only workers with an associate degree had better odds of finding a good job in 2015 than they did 1991, Georgetown found. High-school graduates and dropouts, and people with some college, are all faring worse now than before, the report says."

"In 1991, 27% of good jobs open to noncollege workers were in manufacturing; by 2015, the proportion had fallen to 16%; that share may fall further as employers reduce labor costs through globalization and automation. The authors analyzed Census surveys from that period to draw their conclusions."

Then there is Labor Shortage Squeezes Home Builders: There are fewer construction workers and more gray hair on job sites today as younger workers snub industry from the WSJ.
"One of the reasons for the housing shortage that is gripping the U.S. is especially perplexing: the dearth of construction workers.

The size of the construction workforce in the U.S. declined to 10.4 million in 2015 from 10.6 million near the bottom of the market in 2010, according to a new analysis of U.S. Census data by Issi Romem, chief economist at BuildZoom, a website for contractors.

Contrast that with the period from 2000 to 2005 when the construction labor force—the sum of employed and unemployed workers—swelled to 11.5 million from 9.3 million.

A critical reason for the recent declines is the graying of the American construction workforce. While construction workers in 2000 were younger on average than workers overall, that trend has reversed, according to Mr. Romem. In 2000, the average construction worker was 7.5 months younger than the typical U.S. worker. By 2005, the gap widened to nearly 18 months.

But now the average construction worker is older than the average employee by 5.5 months."
The article also mentions that young workers want technology jobs or don't live where the housing boom is. Then there is Ex-Convicts Help Companies Fill Need for Skilled Labor: As jobless rate declines, employers increasingly find qualified workers among recently released prisoners by Jeffrey Sparshott of the WSJ. The article mentions the low U.S. unemployment rate, but as I said earlier, we should look at 25-54 year-olds. Excerpts:

"Erickson Cos., a Chandler, Ariz., based construction firm, has hired almost 30 former inmates from Arizona state prisons over the past year to build frames for new homes, an effort to cope with skilled-labor scarcity.

“We’re searching for every alternative avenue that we possibly can to help solve this labor shortage,” Rich Gallagher, Erickson’s chief executive, said in an interview.

Erickson is part of what appears to be a nationwide trend. As the jobless rate falls, employers in places including Arizona, Indiana and Maryland are scouring the fringes of the labor market for able-bodied workers, including ex-offenders.

Erickson, which has about 250 employees in Arizona and roughly 1,000 nationwide, has been recruiting directly from corrections department job fairs for prisoners nearing release. Karen Hellman, director of inmate programs and re-entry, said there has been a noticeable uptick in companies looking to hire inmates this year.

National data on hiring of ex-offenders isn’t available, but other state correctional systems across the U.S. and training programs for ex-offenders report similar experiences."

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